Last weekend Jeremy and I left lovely spring/summer-time Minneapolis and headed back to a cold, early-spring feeling Seattle. Ironic, isn't it? Seattle actually got snow in mid-April and I hear the first week of June was one of the coldest on record. It's also been raining non-stop (which is more unusual than you may think).
But for some clouds on Friday and early Saturday, the weekend turned out to be glorious and all our friends thanked us for bringing the lovely Midwest weather with us.
We had a packed out schedule. Friday we arrived at Seatac a little after 3:00, caught a bus into town, and then transferred to another one which took us to the Madrona neighborhood. Our wonderful, wonderful friends A&D were letting us stay in their guest room and also borrow a car! We tossed our suitcases inside, said hello to the dog, and I quickly changed into a slightly nicer outfit. Then we raced off to the University District.
We met my brother around 6 for an interesting Thai dinner and then drove over to the University of Washington campus for graduation, where we met up with my mom and two sisters, and I caught up with fellow cohort classmates B, L & others. My mom handed over my cap & gown & hood and I dressed right there on the square.
At 7:00 all of us graduates were herded into a windowless room in Meany Hall and given some brief instructions as to how the evening would look. The first comment was: "If any of you will have to go to the bathroom between now and 10:00 - go now because we aren't going to let you out of line later." At which more than half the graduates turned and left in search of the bathrooms!
Finally it was 8:00 and we were marched out of our holding room, through hallways and up stairs and into the auditorium. After welcoming comments, presenting of awards, and keynote address, we finally made it to the actual graduation.
I think the masters ceremony is so much better than undergraduate. In the first place there are way fewer graduates to go through! When I got up to join the line to the stage, I looked way up and saw that my husband and mom were both gone! They're missing it! I moaned. But then I saw a flash and realized my husband was just a few feet away snapping pictures. And my mom turned out to be on the other side of the stage waiting to take pictures as I made my way across the stage. I gave my name card to the announcer who read my name. I walked forward a few feet and handed my "hood" to one professor and two other professors helped put the hood over my head and attach it in the right way. I walked forward a few feet to have my hood "fluffed" (that's what they called it!). Then I shook hands with the dean, received a little congratulations certificate, signed the graduate book, and posed for a picture. Phew! I guess it doesn't get any more official than that: I'm a graduate!
We all returned to our respective hotels, houses, etc for a good nights' sleep before another long day. Jeremy and I met my brother for a brief breakfast at 8:30. After he left for work we stopped by the University Farmer's Market to pick up mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns, garlic tips, some beautiful chevre from our cheese-man, a bunch of flour from a local farm, strawberries, and cherries. Then we jumped in the car and ran down to Voula's to meet the rest of my family for second breakfast.
After breakfast we went over to Pike's Market and checked out all the sites, including buying a set of baby clothes for my little sister's munchkin. Then it was Greek spanakopita & yeeros from Mr. D's Greek Delicacies, Russian piroshkies from Piroshky-Piroshky, and some sweets from the Three Girls Bakery. We said goodbye to my family (who was driving back to Portland/Salem) and we drove up to Greenlake to meet A at Zoka. Jeremy thinks they make the best Roibos tea so we had to go there to buy a big bag of it.
We had a lot of fun catching up with A and getting job advice. After tea, Jeremy and I walked down to Greenlake for a little stroll. Some yards in Seattle have the most incredible bushes of rosemary and other herbs. As I've said here before, we just don't get rosemary bushes in Minneapolis. It's a pain having to buy rosemary in little plastic boxes from the grocery store - so rosemary was on our list of things to get while in Seattle. Meandering down to the lake, we'd occasionally pass a yard with a big bush of rosemary or sage spilling out onto the sidewalk. After the briefest glance around to make sure no one was around to sound an alarm, we'd surreptitiously break off sprigs and branches and bundles of herbs. We made off with quite a bundle!
On our way to meet friends for dinner, we stopped by M&L's house to see how they were doing. They've been doing a massive renovation/remodel on their house for some time so it was great to get a tour of the nearly-complete house. Then we drove up to Maple Leaf to one of our favorite restaurants, the Maple Leaf Grill, to have dinner with J&R. Good times, good times.
Earlier that morning I had received an interesting phone call from E, a former roommate of Jeremy's in Seattle.
"Hi E, how's it going?"
"Great. I was just trying to call Jeremy but the number didn't work. Uh...we got a package in the mail for Jeremy so we're just trying to figure out what to do with it. Maybe we should mail it to you guys?"
"Oh," I said with a smile. "We'll just come pick it up."
"You're in town!?!"
"Yep, we're in town for graduation."
So after dinner we walked over to E, M & A's house to pick up the package. It turned out to be a birthday present (about a month early) from Jeremy's grandma. It was very bizarre that it arrived on the very weekend we were in town. Strange [cue Twilight Zone music]....
So we got a bonus visit with E & A and A's two crazy cats.
Sunday morning we had arranged breakfast with our hosts A&D so we could actually hang out with them while in town. Their weekend schedule was just as busy as ours! We provided strawberries and Jeremy made omelettes with fiddlehead ferns, garlic tips, fresh herbs (read: rosemary), and cheese. They were amazing, and we had a wonderful & wide-ranging 2-hour conversation with our friends.
Next we were off to North Seattle Friends for church and saying hello to numerous friends. Lorraine, the pastor, had even put together a little card and gift and brought me up to the front of the church to share about graduation, life in the midwest, and future plans.
After church we picked up some food for a picnic and went to a park with T, H & S. T & S took turns running S over to the swings and slide (since S is 2 years old and into that sort of thing). We had a great lunch and fun catching up on all the news.
We said goodbye and then Jeremy and I ambled over to the Picardo Farm P-Patch for a brief tour of the patch. The bounty and size of the patch is incredible. We jumped in the car again and headed down to Columbia City, home of A&G and their two goofy dogs. A&G had recently moved into this house and A wanted advice on what was growing in her backyard. We identified a huge bolting spinach patch, rosemary, sage, thyme, and catnip. A was kind enough to let us swipe some more herbs before we left. After munching on fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, local cherries, and a few glasses of wine, A took us to the main street in Columbia City and showed us some of her favorite developments. We eventually said goodbye and Jeremy I ducked into Tutta Bella for a very tasty dinner.
We took a scenic route home and got some wonderful views of my mountain: Mt. Rainier.
At home we worked on packing birthday gift, graduation gifts, random acquisitions, and lots of food into our luggage. We had both brought extra bags and a cooler so everything fit perfectly. After a lovely breakfast on Monday morning, A drove us down to the airport. Goodbye Seattle! Hope to see you again soon!